Wednesday, March 29, 2006

OPINION: Where Are The Peaceniks In Sulu? By Menardo Wenceslao

DAVAO CITY (Menardo Wenceslao / 29 Mar) Terror strikes again and this time right in the heart of the Muslim dominated community. By latest count nine persons had died and more than 20 others were badly injured.

As in most recent terrorists attacks the Jolo victims were mostly innocent Muslim civilians. This despicable act of extremists and diabolical Al Qaeda clones, namely the Jemaah Islamiyah and Abu Sayyaf bands, reaffirms the fact that terrorists do neither distinguish tribal distinctions nor respect for one’s religion. They strike where there is opportunity. The higher the death toll the more they delight in frenzy. The excruciating the pain the louder they cheer. Murder is their way of life and the anguish of their victims is their celebration.

It is therefore foolhardy for some quarters to deny the existence of terror groups lurking in our midst. Now we want to hear the peaceniks talk about the non-existence of Jemaah Islamiyah and ASG elements in Sulu. Now let us hear them condemn the insanity that snuffed the life of innocent civilians. They had staged rallies against the holding of military exercises in Sulu which would have trained our soldiers there to counter terrorism. The training was downgraded to medical mission. We are not saying that the Balikatan Exercises, if carried out according to standard, could have prevented the terrorists from carrying out their plot, but we are saying that maybe the peace keeping force if properly trained may have improved their skills and knowledge of terrorism which might have deterred the bombing.

Anyway, what has been feared might happen had happened. As we ponder on this tragedy, we wonder whether the Moro Islamic Liberation Front has done its promised task to help the government hunt the remaining Abu Sayyaf terrorists or it has denied the elements of Jemaah Islamiyah sanctuary in their territories.

While we grope for an answer the better option left for us is to increase our vigilance against the emergence of these extremists. This, we have to do whether one is a Christian or Muslim because the terrorists is neither one of the two.

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